- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2022

New York City health officials said they are investigating a possible case of monkeypox as officials investigate clusters of unusual cases of the disease in North America and Europe.

The patient was admitted to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, officials said.

A public health lab is conducting tests for the sometimes fatal monkeypox virus and, if positive, the results will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

The potential case follows a U.S. case in Massachusetts in a man who recently traveled to Canada.

Monkeypox is typically found in central and western African countries. However, several European countries have reported clusters of cases alongside the U.S., Canada and Australia.

One tracker associated with the University of Oxford has documented more than 120 confirmed or suspected cases.

The disease is marked by fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes and causes a notable rash that can spread all over the body.

While mounting cases suggest the virus is circulating around the globe, it is probably not spreading out of control. For one thing, the telltale rash would have given it away.

“It would be surprising if it were in much higher numbers without being recognized or noticed,” said Aaron Glatt, chair of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau.

Some monkeypox strains have been known to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 cases, though current cases are believed to be of a less lethal kind that causes death in fewer than 1% of cases.

The virus can spread through body fluids, monkeypox sores or shared items such as clothing and bedding that have been contaminated by a person with monkeypox. It also can spread through respiratory droplets, though not as efficiently as COVID-19.

“It doesn’t really bode in any way that this could turn into something that COVID has turned into,” Dr. Glatt said.

U.S. officials said people who see symptoms of monkeypox, including unusual rashes, should contact their doctors. They said men who have sex with other men may be at higher risk at the moment, based on trends in the latest cases.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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